A quick summary of this week's events, and a seasonal greeting.....
This blog post can be read at 5tth.blogspot.com
It would seem that community pressure does indeed force BT to succumb. Byer's Green, one of the villages visited by John Popham during Can't Get Online week, have been informed that, despite meeting none of BT's criteria for FTTC, the villagers are to receive the upgrade.
From The Byers Green Community Forum
Happy Christmas to all our readers.
Your Christmas present follows below.
"Following our recent meeting with BT Openreach a 'demand assessment' review of the Broadband take-up in Byers Green was commissioned. This has now been analysed by BT Openreach and they have determined that the demand is sufficient to justify the necessary investment to provide a 'fibre to cabinet' upgrade of the Byers Green service.
The current expectation is that this will be installed some time in mid 2012."
You made it possible.
The view here is that it's a shame that the community has not sought a more permanent solution that doesn't hand over all the money each month far into the future to BT, and that a community social enterprise could at least have re-spent the cash locally, but one can only hope that 100% of the community can be served with at least something better than that which is currently provided by the incumbent.
And if you are a community who has not yet been told there will be an upgrade of any flavour, Byer's Green should offer more than a glimmer of hope. And why not aim for the true target - FTTH? After all, if it doesn't prove within, say, three years that it will be viable to BT in the long-term.... well, let's say there would be some hats eaten!
Yesterday, it was standing room only at the B4RN launch, with communities and organisations from all over the UK filling seats and floorspace, much to the bemusement of some local people who obviously hadn't quite grasped what a unique and interesting project B4RN is for so many around the country. The opening of the share offer is a major milestone for community FTTH, and 5TTH is proud to have been a part of making history. Not quite Fiver To The Home but as close as you are ever likely to come.
Barry Forde was as impressive as ever, and listening to him talking tech to Seb from ThinkBroadband during the post-event networking about Juniper, IX, etc etc was one of those moments that reinforces the conviction that B4RN is set on exactly the right route. Not a single negative report has come out. In fact, here are some of the blogs, stories, tweets etc so you can read all about it.
- Pauline Rigby (Optical Reflection)
- BBC Radio Lancashire
- John's Popham's Live audiocast
- The tweets
- Brian Condon's Liveblog
- Rory Cellan-Jones on the BBC Technology blog
- Ian Grant on Broken Telephone
Letters, videos and tweets of support from the Duke of Westminster, the first Google Fiber city- Kansas, EU Commissioner Neelie Kroess, Andrew Stott (Director of Digital Engagement at the Cabinet Office), ECFiber in Vermont, Dave Isenberg, and many, many others show just how much goodwill there is towards the success of this project. And its success may well raise many questions about the BDUK process during 2012......
However, there are those for whom the green eyed monster is showing because this FTTH, community led, 100% community benefit solution is now fully underway. Disingenuous attempts to dissuade potential investors are unlikely to work though because this is a value for money, long-term (not interim) solution where the Management Team are absolutely determined that every penny that can will stay within the community. And as has been discovered elsewhere, once the fibre goes into the ground to the first few people, communities get IT.
Share application forms can be downloaded from http://www.b4rn.org.uk so get yourself a great Xmas pressie and Buy a Bit of B4RN!
Breaking News: as I type this, Broken Telephone has published the worrying story that the VOA may be likely to further hamper efforts to lay fibre unless you are BT with a story headlined "VOA ready to bung BT billions". Not such great news.
Many, many thanks to everyone for the support, stories, and comments to 5TTH. There will now be a period of radio silence as family and personal commitments take precedence, even for this obsessed one! Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and New Year and let's hope that 2012 sees much more in the way of progress towards FTTH in the UK, rural and urban. And especially from communities who should not be tied to the lengthy BDUK process, the incumbent or interim solutions, and who should be allowed to innovate and deliver unhindered by bureaucracy, greed and downright short-sightedness. See the light xxLindsey